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HMP Hewell prisoner killed schoolgirl despite warnings before release
10:50am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
A REVIEW is underway into how warnings raised over the mental health of a HMP Hewell prisoner were not acted on, before he killed a 16-year-old schoolgirl.
Christina Edkins was the victim of a random stabbing as she travelled to school on the number nine bus in Edgbaston last March.
Fellow passengers rushed to offer first aid, but the young student could not be saved and she died at the scene.
Phillip Simelane, 23, of no fixed abode, has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after admitting her manslaughter at a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, (October 2).
In 2012, when Simelane had been serving a prison sentence at HMP Hewell in Tardebigge, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust provided psychiatric assessments.
Concerns were raised about Simelane being released back into the community.
But he was released without supervision or mental health support last December, just three months before the unprovoked attack.
After the hearing Christina's Great Uncle, Chris Melia, spoke on behalf of the family.
“Christina was a bright, beautiful girl who had her whole life ahead of her," he said.
“Nothing will restore Christina to us.
"The loss of a child is the worst thing that can happen, made even more grievous by such a senseless crime.
“The family asks the question when this man was discharged from prison, why was the recommendation - made a few weeks earlier by mental health experts that he be supervised after release whilst adjusting to life back in the community - not followed up?”
In a statement Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said it was leading an external review, commissioned by Birmingham Cross City Clinical Commissioning Group, on behalf of all the agencies involved in Simelane’s treatment.
The trust said that although it could not speculate on the review’s outcome it would be a thorough investigation.
Its findings are expected to be published in December.
“We will seek to learn from and fully implement these findings across the healthcare providers involved,” the statement added.
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